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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, August 22, 1915, Image 38

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1915-08-22/ed-1/seq-38/

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Raising Alligj
^3Kr?i
Alligators hare about as li
you can find. It took eighte
group to climb the runtcav t
PKItHAFS the most unusual of farms
is I ho alligator farm.
For years the increasing demand
for alligator hides has been a great incentive
to hunters, the result being that
the millions of saurians that formerly held
sway over the vast swamps of Florida
linvi' Iw'i'ii nnsirlv flnnhkttwl \< n n *>vi.
deuce of the ruthlessness with which this
slaughter has been carried on, the United
States Fish Commission reports that between
18!H) and 1!KM) more than three
million alligators were killed in Florida
alone. Still the slaughter goes on; and,
since Florida has neen so nearly cleaned
out, the hunters have transferred their
activities to Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.
Thousands of alligators are
killed annually in each of these States,
and at the present rate the alligator will
be extinct in a very few years.
With the idea, therefore, of producing
tin article that is becoming more and more
scarce, and on which the market value is
increasing by leaps and- bounds, George
Karnest of Los Angeles conceived the idea
of starting an alligator farm.
When it is understood that an alligator
two feet long is about ten years old, that
alligators do not breed until they are
thirty years old, and that the specimens
have to be taken alive, a few of theobsta
cles attending the enterprise become selfevident.
('niching Live Alligators
ALLIGATORS are usually hunted at
night. The hunter is equipped with a
light canoe, a large-bore, double-barreled
shotgun, and a big bull's-eye lantern. He
paddles noiselessly through the swamps,
flashing his light to locate the prey. An
alligator's eyes look like green balls of fire
on the water. If carefully approached the
beast will lie still and allow the hunter to
paddle up to him, quietly awaiting the
approach of the fascinating light. When
wilhin m. few feet of the nlliirnton tie.
hunter discharges both barrels at its eyes;
this usually kills it outright. The body
is th''ii secured with a grappling-hook before
it can sink, and lashed fast to a convenient
stump, out of water, to be picked
up on the return. Frequently thirty or
more in a night are killed by this method.
In securing live alligators it was necessary
to devise an entirely new method.
The dens, which are burrows under overhanging
river-banks, are located in the
daytime. When an inmate is located,
it is prodded with a long pole, on the
end of which is firmly attached a
wooden ball about six inches in diameter.
Wlcn the alligator is enraged it snaps at
tic pop, and seizes it in its jaws. An alligator
never relaxes its grip, and, hanging
on to the stick, is drawn out of the hole.
itors by Hand
? 7 -'I
i /
-f ^
I \**
M
tile intelligence its any beast
en months to teach tico of this
uul slide tlou n into the water.
Men in boats throw ropes around it. lashing
it securely, and it is towed to camp.
Great care must he used in handling
the beasts. One snap of an alligator's jaws
will crush a man's leg. and a blow from
its armored tail will knock a man senseless.
In a series of such hunts Mr. Earnest
secured enough mature alligators to stock
his farm.
The alligator farm is located upon the
banks of a small mountain stream, the
course of which has been altered to form
a number of small lakes and swamps, alt as
nearly like the natural home of the monsters
as possible. Here they live, breed,
bask in the warm sun, and appear entirely
contented and satisfied with their lot.
How llie Young Ones Are Raised
nrilE month of June is their breeding
season, and during this period they are
exceptionally dangerous. The males bellow
like enraged bulls, and become so
vicious that it is dangerous to go near
them. Among themselves they tight like
demons, and in order to prevent their inflicting
serious injury on each other the
males are securely muzzled.
In July the female begins nesting. She
fashions the nest by scraping together a
pile of rubbish, sticks, reeds, stones, and
mud, and 011 this she deposits from thirty
to sixty long, narrow, capsule-shaped eggs,
covering them with rubbish and mud.
She stands guard night and day until
they are hatched.
The nests 011 Mr. Earnest's farm are
robbed as soon as the eggs are laid. This
in itself is a ticklish and dangerous operation,
and is never accomplished until the
female has been roped, her jaws bound,
thrown 011 her back and seenrelv nininnnH.
The eggs art' placed in an incubator maintained
at a temperature of eighty degrees,
and are moistened every day. They hatch
in sixty days. When hatched the young
are placed in a separate inclosure, and,
being of identical size, about six inches
long, there is no danger of their preying
on each other.
All Alligators Are Cannibals
IT is not generally known, but alligators
o..r? i ? J
uiu VUIIIIU'CIIISUI -tUf lillgtT BIZl'S Ut?vour
the smaller; in fact, they prefer their
own flesh to any other. This makes it necessary
to grade them according to sizes.
The young alligators are exceptionally
hardy, and beyond feeding require absolutely
no attention. They are apparently
immune to disease, and only the severest
injuries will kill them. They grow very
slowly, and never stop growing. The
largest alligator in captivity. Okeechobee,
is more than twelve feet long, and is estimated
to be live hundred years old. Their
bonds nro mostly solid bono, and an alligator
ton foot long has a brain not much
larger than a walnut. Thoy hibernate
during the winter, and for six months?
from October to March?oat absolutely
nothing. Thoy have 110 tongues, the
mouth being filled with a spongy membrane
which enables them to open it
under water without swallowing a drop.
The lower jaw is fixed and immovable,
and they snap and bite by raising and
lowering the upper jaw. They display
absolutely no intelligence, although Mr.
Earnest did succeed, after eighteen months
She Finds Mor
Throw
STRANG EST among the many strange
employments of women in the United
States government service is that as
signed to Mrs. Mary Warren, who for
more than thirty years has been picking
over the waste-paper baskets in the Treasury
Department.
In this long period of faithful duty in a
seemingly humble and disagreeable occupation,
she has recovered countless sums
of money. The largest amount she ever
found in one package was $10,000.
Scarcely a day passes that she does not
save half a dozen checks that have by
some oversight been left in envelops.
Of late years her work has been growing
lighter, so that now she picks over about
five bushels each day from the Treasurer's
office. In years past the work was enormous,
all of the waste paper of the entire
department being carefully inspected. The
quantities used to be so large that a force
of three or four women could not get
through it all in a day.
rm IV __ itii<k /ww? W *
i in* i>iiy ipiu.uuu ? as j,ost
"IT would lit* impossible lo tell you even
roughly how niueh money and valuables
1 have found in waste paper," said
Mrs. Warren. "Every day we used to
recover a great deal of money. We never
kept track of how much, because we simply
returned it to the Treasurer, and it was
traced back to the desk from which it
was lost, and thus properly checked off.
As far as I know, there was never anything
of value lost that we did not roeov< r.
"Once I found a bundle of SI0.000, in
various denominations, that had by some
chance fallen from a desk into a wastepaper
basket. There was considerable excitement
throughout the department that
day. 1 returned the package to General
Francis Eastman Spinner, who was then
Treasurer. He locked it up, and there
was a rigid investigation of the affair.
Nowadays, with checks in more common
use, there is very little money found
Acting Two ]
To sleep com fortably in an arm-chair in <
floor in another while a beautiful lady In
to ilo at one time. Ilut here you hare it in
Dream Dance." Of course, it's just anoth
itift the scenes at separate times, ami su/
of patient effort, in teaching two females
to climb a runway and slide down a chute
into one of the lakes.
The "crop" on this strange farm can not
ho gathered until it is thirty years old, as
that length of time is required for them to
reach commercial size. Were it not for
the fact that the stock is l>oing constantly
replenished by frequent hunts, that the
farm is visited annually by thousands of
tourists who pay an admission fee, and
that many young alligators are sold as
souvenirs, it is doubtful whether the
enterprise would pay.
ley that People
r Away
Once she found $10,000 iti hills
in the Treasury naste basket.
Alter that the Department uot
morr into ill? way of using checks.
among the waste paper; yet only to-day
I found six checks, and that would he a
fair daily average."
Mrs. Warren has her recovery office in
a secluded section of the first floor of the
Treasury Building. So unobtrusively
does she do her work that there are many
employees in the department who do not
know that there is such an office in the
building. The hundreds of sight-seers
who are shown through the building daily
never get a glimpse of this merry little
.v.a, *t... .. p.. ...
minium |mi ivi ii^ uvn i in i filial*.
Parts at Once
4
i Jjg^ ,_j.>;*
me corner of the singe, and lie dead oil the
nils over you, seems too much for one man
this picture of a scene from Lubitt's "The
er of those camera fakes"?photograph- y
terimposing one negative upon the other. ^

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